Lactational coumestrol exposure increases ovarian apoptosis in adult rats

Hyun Ju Moon, Ji Hyun Seok, Soon Sun Kim, Gyu Seek Rhee, Rhee Da Lee, Jun Young Yang, Soo Yeong Chae, Seung Hee Kim, Ji Young Kim, Jin Yong Chung, Jong Min Kim, Soo Youn Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study is the first to examine the increased apoptosis in the adult rat ovary after lactational exposure to coumestrol (COU), a potent phytoestrogen. Lactating dams were gavaged at doses of 0.01, 0.1, 1, and 10 mg/kg COU during the lactation period and the reproductive effects of female pups were investigated in young adults. Rats were sacrificed at postnatal days (PND) 81-84. Ovarian weights were reduced significantly at 0.1 and 1.0 mg/kg COU. The reduction in the ovarian weight occurred in parallel with an increase in the apoptosis at PND 135-140. A marked dose-dependent increase in the expressions of active caspase-3 and -7 was observed in ovarian granulosa cells. Immunostaining for active caspase-3 and the TUNEL staining of apoptotic cells were also increased in ovaries exposed to COU in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest new sights into the effect of lactational exposure to COU on the female reproductive health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-608
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Toxicology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Caspase-3
  • Coumestrol
  • Lactational exposure
  • Ovarian apoptosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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